World Religions and Social Evolution of the Old World Oikumene Civilizations
A Cross-cultural Perspective
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"Andrey Korotayev has written an original and penetrating analysis of the influence of world religions on social evolution.....Korotayev persuasively argues that the communicative networks associated with world religions, such as Christianity and Islam, molded the social structure of the Afroeurasian societies. Good ideas and rigorous statistical insights abound. Of particular interest to many readers will be the new results on the influence of religions on intrasocietal aggression and on communal democracy. This is an important and timely book by one of the foremost scholars in the field of social evolution." - Professor Peter Turchin (University of Connecticut, Storrrs), author of Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall "This new study by Professor Korotayev is a particularly valuable contribution....effectively showing that religion does indeed have an active role in shaping other elements of social organization.....This is an important study not just because it addresses these crucial yet strangely neglected questions, but even more so because of its unusually empirical and hypothesis-based approach. The correlational studies relating elements of the different religions to sociostructural characteristics of cultures is certainly the heart of the book.....Professor Korotayev persuasively argues that progress remains a valuable concept if we wish to fully explore social evolution and it is one that can be approached much more objectively than most of us would have guessed." - Paul K. Wason, Director of Science and Religion Programs, John Templeton Foundation and author of Archaeology of Rank (Cambridge, 1994). "[This work] is one of the most remarkable and important studies in recent years in cross-cultural analysis. Following the general thrust of Max Weber's argument for the significance of religion for social and economic development, Korotayev shows that the divergence between Islam and Christianity is deep and long-standing....Korotayev shows that Islamic societies are at the extreme poles of unilateral descent and patricentric kinship structures, whereas Christian societies are at the opposite poles of bilateral descent and matrilateral kinship.....Basing his findings on a wide-ranging and well-executed technical analysis of cross-cultural data sets, Korotayev makes a strong case. This work will be of great importance for everyone interested in long-term structural patterns of human societies; in the comparison of Christian and Islamic regions of the world; and in the deep historical evolution of democracy." - Randall Collins, University of Pennsylvania"